The road to building a smart city has speed bumps and potholes, cautions Sarah Wartell (inset photo), president of the Urban Institute. First, it's easy to get too smart about solving problems. "It's very cool and sexy to have computational scientists and researchers figuring how much data they can gather, but you want to make sure you're not overlooking much simpler solutions to problems," she warns.
Second, partnerships with the private sector are often touted, but Wartell said government agencies have to learn how to innovate and develop the capacity to sustain programs on their own after private entities have moved on.
Finally, the big data drive has cities looking for any and all sources of information to fuel data-driven decisions, but it's essential for cities to make sure they have comprehensive information. "Some data sets don't do a good job of measuring all citizens, and the people most in need often get missed," she says. "You want to make sure your data perspective is inclusive and fair."